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The Black Knee Chronicles

An Exploration of Family Legends

by Hugh Frazer

The Frazers of Dunnacleggan have a tradition that they are the rightful heirs to Lovat, but the details have been lost. There is also a legend of a prophesy that the family fortune would be restored by a Frazer with a black mark on his left knee. I was born with a black birthmark behind my left knee, so who knows.

The Black Knee Chronicles started as a transcription of my grandfather's researches published as booklets to share the information around the family and interested friends. It is a continuing work.

Nearly all of the material so far is from the research and notes of my Grandfather, Wilson Frazer, asssisted by his brother Joseph. There are four theories that have been put forward:-

  1. That we are descended from Alexander Fraser, elder brother of Simon Lord Lovat of the '45. See Joseph Frazer's letter to the Daily Mail, London, during the 1884 challenge to the Lovat title by John Fraser. A family for Alexander has never been established and it is thought that he died of wounds received at Killicrankie.
  2. A great deal of research by Wilson and Joseph led to the belief that our elusive ancestor was Simon Fraser of Brea. See The Fraser of Brea Theory. Again many years of study have failed to unearth a family for this gentleman either.
  3. My Grandfather finally concluded that Simon Lord Lovat married another time in France, as evidenced by the Letters of Sir John Maclean, and that our ancestor Archibald was the issue of that obviously ill-fated union. See Volume 1 below for the first part of Wilson's notes.
  4. Following my own research, I put forward another theory that the much maligned marriage between Simon, later Lord Lovat, and the Dowager Lady Lovat was a much more complex affair of considerable substance with issue, and that much of the infamy attributed to the Old Fox is the result of a very sustained and successful character assassination by John Murray, Duke of Atholl, and brother of the Dowager, for the purpose of gaining control of the Lovat estates. This is not ready for publication as yet, but real soon now, watch this space, and other thoughts of optimism.

The very existence of these theories emphasises that we really have lost the knowledge of Archibald's parentage, and, as any sensible genealogist would suggest, it may be that the tradition is a fabrication, perhaps invented to hide an illegitimate link. Maybe the quest for an answer will find the truth, and truth can be stranger than fiction.

Any contribution of knowledge, positive or negative, is most welcome.

Volume 1 - October 1990

Volume 2 - May 1991

Volume 3 - December 1992

Volume 4 - July 1996

Volume 5 - August 1996

 
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